Apple looking at titanium and 'hybrid plastics' for future iPhones, Macs and more

Think your aluminum iPhone is slick? You may be craving a different finish for your next Apple smartphone in the future, with a new patent revealing the company's plans to use new durable materials in future gadgetry.

The patent filing (as spotted by Patently Apple) details Apple's plans to use titanium metal, titanium alloys and 'hybrid plastics' in everything from iPhones to Macbooks to Apple Watches.

Benefits of titanium

Most Apple gadgets make use of aluminum in its casing and construction, giving that premium silver-grey look, before colored oxidised coatings are applied. But for darker finishes, zirconium and its alloys are often used, which can be expensive and hard to machine.

Titanium and its alloys are relatively inexpensive by comparison, remaining lightweight and easy to work with, while retaining durability. A physical vapor deposition (PVD) coating can also easily be applied to give "cosmetic" enhancements to titanium. 

For Space Grey and Jet Black iPhones, titanium alloy's additional toughness could be very useful, especially given the chipping issue the darker iPhones have been known to suffer from.

Plastic bonding for waterproofing

A separate Apple patent also details how a process of bonding plastics to porous metals could improve future Apple gadgets.

Rather than wrapping all your premium gear in shoddy plastic, the patent here seems more interested in using thermoplastic materials to help make Apple's products watertight, sealing up areas otherwise exposed to the elements.

According to the patent, "the strength of the bonds between the materials may provide some degree of impact resistance to the electronic device. The increased bond strength thus results in a sturdier, more durable product."

It's all sounding very promising – should Apple's patent exploration bear fruit, Apple may have some very sturdy, attractive products in the pipeline.

Gerald Lynch

Gerald is Editor-in-Chief of Previously he was the Executive Editor for TechRadar, taking care of the site's home cinema, gaming, smart home, entertainment and audio output. He loves gaming, but don't expect him to play with you unless your console is hooked up to a 4K HDR screen and a 7.1 surround system. Before TechRadar, Gerald was Editor of Gizmodo UK. He is also the author of 'Get Technology: Upgrade Your Future', published by Aurum Press.